Senators hold off Avalanche in 6-5 overtime win

The hockey gods seem to do weird and weird things when the Colorado Avalanche and the Ottawa Senators meet.

After a 7-5 outing a few weeks ago, the Avs and the Senators met again in Ottawa where this time the Senators finished in the lead 6-5 in overtime. There are so many adjectives one could use to describe this game, right off the bat.

1st period

Right out of the door, Darren Helm would find himself alone. He would take the opportunity to bring down Anton Forsberg and lift a backhand into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.

It didn’t last long, however, as captain Brady Tkachuk came on 3-2 and passed Jonas Johansson to tie the game to one. Seconds later, Austin Watson received a nice assist from Dylan Gambrell to give the Senators a 2-1 lead.

The madness continued, as a penalty for tripping over Josh Norris was converted with a slap shot from Devon Toews’ point which was deflected by Gabriel Landeskog to tie the two.

Things calmed down from there, but the hockey gods are doing something crazy every time these two meet this season. It was not without luck, as Johansson and Forsberg had to make big saves to maintain the level before the break.

2nd period

There is only one word to describe this period: bizarre. Tim Stützle was hit by Jack Johnson far from goal, struck Johansson, knocked the net off his moorings and the puck crossed the line. Because Johnson made the initial contact, it was seen as a goal that left everyone scratching their heads, bringing the score to 3-2.

It went from bad to worse. Norris picked up a rebound from Johansson and passed him for the 4-2 lead.

That would be it for Johansson, having been retired for Justus Annunen’s first career NHL game. But even he couldn’t repair the injury, as Stützle hanged him and Erik Johnson before dragging him to the top shelf to bring the score to 5-2.

Things weren’t going well for the Avs and they could have just stopped from there after seeing everything that happened to them in the frame. Alex Newhook had other ideas as he picked up the puck in the neutral zone, slipped through defense and buried a beautifully in front of Forsberg to bring it down to 5-3.

Logan O’Connor nearly forced another shorthanded goal on a turnabout, but Tyson Jost couldn’t finish it. Jost would miss an empty net at a tight angle, and the LOC would also be unable to convert on a breakaway. The Avs were in charge and despite the score there was a chance before the third.

3rd period

Things started well for the Avs in their comeback. On a delayed penalty appeal, Jost pulled up ahead and deflected a MacKinnon shot past Forsberg. Just like that, it was 5-4 with plenty of time to get an equalizer.

It was from there that the Senators started playing lousy hockey. They parked it in the neutral zone and the Avs could not do anything in the offensive zone. On the defensive end, Annunen was cool as a cucumber to keep giving his team a chance.

Landeskog believed he scored the tying goal with less than three minutes to go on a point wrist shot. But, by a very thin margin, the puck went out of the zone during preparation and was refused after a challenge from the coaches.

Just a minute later, Teows got one that counted, when he smoked a point past Forsberg for a 5-5 tie to send him to extra frame, getting a point in the process.

Over time

After the Avs dominated possession, a turnaround was awarded to Tkachuk who landed a hit and passed young rookie Annunen to win 6-5 with the only chance of the period for the Senators.

Take away food

Let’s not mince words here – the Avs were bad. Specifically, defensively, the Avalanche was atrocious. Too many guys made too many mistakes that led to goals, like J. Johnson. That’s what led to their horrific demise in Toronto, and the only reason it wasn’t more than a 6-5 final was because the Senators don’t have the same quality as the Leafs. Jared Bednar needs to fix this instantly because it won’t fly against top ranked teams.

One of the few bright spots in this game is Annunen. He came in relief from Johansson for his career debut in the NHL and looked calmer than ever. The two goals he allowed were nothing he could do against either. If Darcy Kuemper is still out on Monday, Annunen could be called out for his first career debut. He gave the Avs their one extremely lucky point tonight which could be huge going forward.

Injuries continue to plague the Avalanche. Precisely tonight, there were no Nazem Kadri (LBI), Bowen Byram (UBI) and Cale Makar (UBI) who retired during the warm-ups. With the number of injuries, their severity, and the time the players are missing, maybe it’s time to start wondering how these guys get in shape and train with the coaches. Something is obviously not working and is causing the guys to be unprepared for the games, getting injured and knocking the team down. Or, we could all think about it a little too much. Nevertheless, from a health point of view, the Avs are in difficulty, which leads to a drop in performance on the ice.

To come up

The road trip draws to a close, as the Avs heads south of the Canadian border to visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night. The face-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT.

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